Monday Mornings with Madison

How to Decrease Decision Fatigue

Word Count: 1,382
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 min.

Daily Decision Overload

General consensus is that the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions in a day.  That’s a LOT of decisions!  If it sounds dubious, consider the myriad of decisions big and small we confront daily.   Decisions about what to eat and wear….  And what to read and believe.  Decisions about career and tasks at work.  Decisions about where to shop, what to buy, how to spend money and how much to save.  Political decisions about who to elect.  Incessant decisions about dating, marriage, having kids, naming kids and then parenting them.  Scads of decisions about healthcare and grooming.  Decisions about where to go on vacation and the best travel arrangements.  And decisions about how to spend time and the best way to communicate something. Continue reading

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Self-Confidence and the Goldilocks Effect

Word Count: 1,295
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

The Confidence Spectrum:  Insecurity, Self-Confidence and Over-Confidence

Everyone wants to boost their self-confidence.  It is an essential quality in business.  It’s the lifeblood of sales professionals and a key characteristic of leaders and managers.  It’s also a crucial trait of entrepreneurs who need to raise capital, negotiate deals and prompt productivity.  In fact, it’s a pretty fundamental trait for success in most professions.  Why is self-confidence so important?  Here are 3 reasons. Continue reading

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Ten Tips for Tackling Your Mountain, Part 2

Word Count: 1,451
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

At some point, you’ll have to climb a metaphorical mountain in your professional or personal life.  You’ll have to travel through unchartered rocky terrain, where there is no clear path or way forward.  Every step will be grueling and exhausting.  A favorable climate will suddenly change to a stormy one.  The body and mind will become stressed.  It will be hard to breathe and think clearly.  The desire to quit or rush ahead recklessly will surface.  It is easy to falter along the way.  Ascending is not easy.  Scaling to the places where few dare to go is hard.  There is no room for hesitation or doubt.  The goal is to summit.  What is the best way to do that? Continue reading

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Ten Tips for Tackling Your Mountain, Part 1

Word Count: 1,351
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

At one point or another, just about everyone is faced with a mountain he or she must climb.  In most cases, it is a metaphorical mountain rather than an actual one.  Entrepreneurs and professionals often have a huge obstacle they must surmount.   Sometimes the challenge is to achieve something that hasn’t been done before.  Sometimes the impediment is a family problem.  And sometimes the hurdle is a personal health challenge.  While some of those mountains are unavoidable, other peaks we scale by choice.  The fact that it is a metaphorical challenge, brought by chance or choice, makes it no less arduous, depleting or risky.  In that regard, it is a lot like actual mountain climbing.  Real mountain climbing is not a sport for the faint of heart.  It is exhausting, dangerous, and expensive.  Yet so many people choose to climb mountains — despite the risks — much the way people choose to start businesses, deal with major obstacles or find solutions to serious problems.  Why? Continue reading

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Abbreviated Skill Mastery and the 20-Hour Rule

Word Count: 1,565 
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Today’s pace of change is relentless.  Processes, procedures and technologies are evolving daily.  The need to stay ‘in-the-know’ and update skills is an absolute necessity, not a nicety or option.  Yet, most professionals have trouble just keeping up with the daily demands of work much less carving out time to learn something new.  The average business exec struggles to find the time to learn new skills. Continue reading

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Are You Listening?

Word Count: 1,212 

Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Listening is a skill.  We often think of listening as being the same as hearing, but it’s not.  Hearing is one of the five senses that involves the ear.  Whereas, listening is the conscious processing of all types of sounds and input – which could include speaking, music, noise, etc. — received by the ears during communication.  We can hear something and not listen.  Most any parent has experienced this firsthand when they give their child instructions, and the child clearly hears the instructions but cannot follow them because he was not listening.  Continue reading

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Case Study: Giving Monday Mornings with Madison a Blog Makeover

Word Count: 1,480  

Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

There are many reasons why a company might want to update a key element of its brand.  Marketing elements get stale.  From websites to corporate newsletters to blogs, there is a need from time to time to update and refresh an element without needing to overhaul the entire brand.  There are also times when a company wants to reposition itself within an existing market.  As a business evolves, it might identify an approach that has more potential to connect with clients.  To make the shift in order to capture new opportunities, there can be a need to rebrand one or several key marketing elements.  At other times, a company might rebrand some element of its marketing as part of an effort to enter a new market or geographic area.  KFC did that when it changed the look of Colonel Sanders to look more oriental when the company expanded into China.  It could be a matter of differentiating from the competition or acknowledging cultural differences. Continue reading

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Turning Customers into Fans

Word Count:  1,617

Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2  min.

Every company claims to offer superior customer service, or some such assertion.  Excellent service is touted so often as a distinguishing feature in marketing and promotional materials that it really has little meaning.  When companies with the worst record for service talk about their ‘commitment to service’, that’s when it’s sadly obvious that the term ‘great service’ has lost all meaning.   Think Comcast Cable, a company that consistently tops the list of worst service providers year after year and did so again in 2017[1] Think Wells Fargo, also on the worst service list, who was caught creating millions of fake customer accounts last year.  Actual great service – service that goes above and beyond and consistently makes customers happy – is rare and can, therefore, really be the ultimate differentiator in business.   That kind of service is about going beyond the basics.  It is about helping customers to not just connect with a company, but actually invest themselves in the brand. Continue reading

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How to Find Talent Today, Part 2

Word Count:  1,845

Estimated Read Time: 7 1/2  min.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, wrote that “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”  Regardless of what a company does, having top staff is essential to every organization.  From mortgage lending to manufacturing and from waste disposal to web design, companies need good employees in order to execute.  But, with the overall unemployment rate at a historic low of 4.1% and with the bachelor’s degree-holder unemployment rate holding at 2.1% in many gateway and key secondary markets, it places serious constraints on the ability of companies to grow or thrive.[1] Continue reading

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How to Find Talent Today – Part 1

Word Count:  1,510

Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Bill Gates once said that “The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead.”  The truth is that finding the right people to fill job openings has never been easy, but he was right that it has gotten harder.  With the unemployment rate holding at 4.1% nationwide — which is at the lowest level since 2000 and before that the lowest level since 1970 — it is getting harder (and may get even harder still thanks to stimulus from the tax overhaul) to find employees without throwing huge salaries and loads of benefits at the problem.  And finding highly-skilled, educated and experienced talent is even harder.

Sometimes, the challenge is finding people with the education, experience and skills to fill a high-level job.  Think of a CTO for a blockchain currency company.  Other times, the challenge lies in finding people with a combination of skills and experience that is hard to find in one person.  Think of a CMO for a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that raises capital for real estate and is expanding into Latin America.  Still other times, the job may require a very deep level of knowledge in a niche area that few possess.  Think of a Chief Hardware Design Engineer for the Avionics department at SpaceX.  Or the job may be in very high demand and it may be hard to find someone who wants to leave an existing job to take a job with a less well-known company or one that isn’t offering as high a salary or benefits.  Think of programmers in Silicon Valley or Investment Bankers in Manhattan.   It can even be hard to fill customary positions — such as customer service, accounting, tech support, and sales — if a company simply has a lot of vacancies to fill because it is growing.  Given the today’s job market, what should hiring managers do today to find talent?  Here are some ideas. Continue reading

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